How to say NO!

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People reading the title of this blog post have already come into it with a perception. And I can guess it very well. They’ve seen the title and gone, ‘Oh! This’ll be some sort of feminist, empowering statement about standing up to your significant other’ – basically the same sort of statement and general mentality that is starting to take over our Facebooks, Tumblrs, Twitters, Buzzfeeds .. you get the gist. And while I’m very much a feminist and very much for self empowerment, this blog post is not that. Not even a little bit.

It is, in fact, about MY ability to say no. To any opportunity. Ever.

Now generally, this can be taken as a positive thing. It’s good to take part and it is definitely imperative to take advantage of the opportunities you are provided with. But with me, it’s like too much of a good thing, you know? Whenever I see something, I apply for it. I take on WAY too much! There have been times that I’ve double booked myself on work shifts, there have been times when I’ve had three essay deadlines in one week and EXTRA STUFF ON TOP!

I realise I sound a bit ungrateful here. Not my intention at all. I’m just making sure the world knows my good and bad qualities. In my last post, I talked about how I handle criticism well, here I’m talking about how I take on more than I can cope with. 7 modules, an editorship, 3 gym classes and work seemed like a good idea last year but I was literally like a headless chicken. I have to physically stop myself this year – note to self! Although, one thing I’ll never regret is applying for a Leadership Course in Cyprus and a trip to Paris where I designed a literary tour of Victor Hugo’s Paris. There are some experiences in life that come out of nowhere but they’re so amazing that you’re left shocked that you were a part of it!

The moral of the story, kids, is that yes, apply to opportunities, apply to LOTS of opportunities. But don’t overload yourself and burn yourself out. Ultimately it ends up being bad because by the sheer laws of physics, it means you can’t possibly give your 100% to each thing and by not having some free time to yourself to enjoy a cup of tea and an episode of Friends (*insert book/tv/leisure preference here*), you can become almost a hindrance in your own life and goals! Take it from someone who knows all too well.

P.S. I WILL be posting up that promised feature – just need to check with Mr Editor if I’m allowed to.

P.P.S. I will also be posting that Victor Hugo Tour.

P.P.P.S. I am FINALLY moved into Uni for my third and final year (eep!) and after a couple of rocky days with no internet (hence no posts for a while) and a lot of boxes, I am fresh faced and ready to dive into the final year of my undergrad (eep.eep!). Cue panic induced crying.

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My first day as a postgrad.

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With not much information until quite recently, I was quite nervous about starting my postgrad adventure. Knowing very little about what was going on just reminded me of when I started my undergrad.But this was at a whole other level.

The actual day wasn’t so bad. We spent 6 hours going through all the forms I needed to fill in, what I needed to submit and when the deadlines would be arranged. I’m not going to lie, it was a bit overwhelming. By the end of the day, I was worried whether postgrad was the right choice for me, but nonetheless, I am up for the challenge.

I also set myself a new challenge: to get involved in a lot more extra-curricular activities seeing as during my undergrad I did an appallingly small amount of activities and only now realising I had wasted a lot of valuable time that I could have used to try something new. So yesterday, I started Beginners Belly Dancing lessons as well as Bachata Sensual lessons. I chose these to learn something new and to be able to master my body and its movements. And plus it looks good when done right! But most importantly, it looks fun and when I’m having a crappy day, it’d be good to cheer myself up a bit instead of mulling it over for the rest of the night.

So here’s to a new chapter!

Emily

Getting creative.

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The date is looming and soon I’ll be going back to University as a postgraduate. In fact, it’s just 9 days away! Just the thought of it gives me flashbacks to my undergrad days where I would spend most of my time studying, resolving problems and using logic and analytical skills to conduct research. This is why, in these few days of creative freedom that I have, I’ve decided to go all out and fit as many creative projects as I can. Of course, if any of you are following this blog, you’ll have noticed my cross stitching attempts and that will obviously have to continue throughout the year if I have any chance of finishing it within my lifetime! Apart from that, I have been trying out new baking recipes, making new hair accessories and using my shiny new sewing machine to make myself a rather nice bean bag chair. I’m not going to lie, it feels good.

Cherry Chocolate Cake  Rose clips  Sewing machine  Beanbag Chair

I tried baking a rustic looking, thrown-together black forest gateaux using the fantastic recipe from Zoe Bakes. I have to say, my attempt looks quite close to the original, which sometimes is not the case! It tasted delicious, with good balance between the richness of the chocolate cake and the tangy taste of the black forest fruits. I used brandy in mine with frozen black forest fruits instead of just frozen cherries (couldn’t find a place that sold them!).

The hair clips were a creative project that has been a long time coming. Having bought all the necessary pieces about two months ago, they have been sat on a chest of drawers, untouched. Until now. All pieces were bought in an adorable shop in Afflecks Palace, Manchester called ‘The Bead Shop’. It is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon and these clips took just a few minutes to assemble and a few more minutes for the glue to dry. Now I have these super cute rose crocodile clips to add that little bit extra to my updo. Perfect.

My new sewing adventures have begun after I received a sewing machine for my 21st from my sister’s boyfriend. I spent a lot of the time admiring it and searching up sewing projects for beginners. That’s when I came across this: a 30 minute bean bag chair. Granted, it took me much longer than 30 minutes and I experimented with the measurements in hope to create an adult size, but the finished product, although a bit strange looking, was pretty good for a first timer.

All in all, the creative projects have been awesome and hopefully I can squeeze some more in before term starts!

 

Emily

Epic Pokemon Stitch. The first page!

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So after what seems like forever, the first page is finally complete. 1 down, 34 to go. Eek! This cross-stitching is serious business! The big batches of colour are fine, but if it’s just one square randomly, it takes me ages to find them and I’m constantly switching between colours/searching through my box to find them! Oh and did I mention there was 105 different colours in this piece. Yeah. That’s right. I definitely picked a great beginner’s project…

Emily

Taking Criticism

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Over the summer, I applied to be the features editor of my university’s paper. I’d previously been the comments editor as well as a staff writer but I wanted a bit of change so I took a shot. This is something I’ve been doing more and more – applying to stuff. Even if I don’t think I’ll get it, even if it’s last minute, even if I might not be able to do it  – the experience of application processes and interview is almost as essential as the job itself!

But I digress.

So I applied for this features internship and I got it! (Needless to say, I was shocked). With Freshers week coming up, we’ll be publishing our first issue of the year and I wrote my first feature in about two years for it this week and let me tell you! That entire piece was a shot in the dark. But thankfully my editor was a godsend and helped me out a fair bit and at the end, he apologised to me because there hadn’t been time to send me the piece to correct and he’d done some edits and in his words – he was brutal.

There’s a grey area when it comes to editing someone’s work because you don’t want to change their work drastically but you don’t want it to go to the next stage as a bad piece either. I personally don’t have anything against him editing my work and am even grateful because now I’ll have an idea for next time. But some people have a tough time with criticism, especially when it comes to creative things such as writing. To them I say take it all with a grain of salt! At the end of the day, however much you resent it, you’ll end up going back to that same advice so as to better your work. If you’re just open to it to begin with, it’ll help you out in the long run AND you’ll be able to get more detailed advice.

So take that criticism as a gift, my friend!

P.S. I will be posting my written articles on here once they get published in the paper. So watch this space!

Be careful of the GERMS!

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It wasn’t until I watched a recent advert involving Dettol and how they are removing bacteria from clothes in every wash that I realised how germophobic the general public are becoming. As much as I encourage the practice of hygiene, I can’t help but think that cleanliness is being pushed too far. The advert shows the mother cleaning clothes to put on her child. This alerts all sorts of warning bells in my mind. Coming from a scientific background, I know that the basis of allergic reactions and hypersensitivity can stem from the reduced contact with the publicly hated germs. The sniffles and coughs of a child is not what any parent wants, but it’s one of the best ways to build up a good immune system. Contact with pathogens allows the immune system to collect a database of good guys and bad guys so that in the future you and/or your child is not going to get a reaction to a good guy by accident.

So please mothers and fathers, let your child play in the mud every once in the while. And maybe just clean their clothes with whatever non-bacteria destroying soap you have.

 

 

Emily